Did the Holy Roman Empire Plan the Greek Crisis?

Did the Holy Roman Empire Plan the Greek Crisis?

Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

You are going to see the same kind of financial crises in other European countries. Here’s why.

I’d like to add my thoughts to a critical article written by Richard Palmer, titled “Who Will Stop the Greece Fires?” It was placed on our website Dec. 16, 2008.

Greece is in trouble. Thousands of rioters rampaged through Athens. Angry youths attacked the Athens courthouse with petrol bombs. Broken glass and burned-out wreckage lay in the streets.

These riots are a sign of a far greater upheaval that is threatening to engulf much of Europe.

Athens isn’t the only Greek city to be hit. Roughly half of the country’s workforce has gone on strike. One resident of Thessaloniki described the city as “a war zone.” Protesters wounded 12 police officers in 10 different cities in one night.

The rioting started December 6 after police shot and killed 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos. His death triggered a fierce reaction across the country.

But Alexandros’s tragic death was simply the spark. The real fuel for the fire came from Greece’s troubled economy.

Many of the people rioting are angry about the government’s handling of the economic crisis. The unions want higher social spending, wages and pensions. Greece’s two largest unions, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (gsee) and the adedy civil servants union, had planned a public demonstration in protest of the failing economy before Alexandros’s shooting. The melee caused by this huge demonstration merged with the mass youth riots to create chaos on city streets in Greece and grind the nation to a standstill.

The Greek government can do little to fix the nation’s economy though. Greece’s fate was, in many ways, sealed seven years ago.

In 2001, Greece adopted the euro, as a member of the European Union. At that point, Greece’s succeeding economic boom and following bust became inevitable. Columnist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard explained the situation in the Telegraph (Dec. 10, 2008):

[T]here is obviously a problem for countries like Greece that were let into emu [Economic and Monetary Union] for political reasons before their economies had been reformed enough to cope with the rigors of euro life—over the long run. …Greece’s euro membership has now led to a warped economy. The current account deficit is 15 percent of gdp, the eurozone’s highest by far. Indeed, the deficit ($53 billion) is the sixth-biggest in the world in absolute terms—quite a feat for a country of 11 million people.

Greece’s foreign debt is a staggering 91 percent of its gross domestic product. Greece’s banks are in crisis. The government has pledged to bail them out with €28 billion. But with Greece’s economy in such bad condition, the Greek government will have difficulty borrowing the €28 billion it wants to give the banks. This could mean it will have to take the money away from its social welfare programs. That would make social unrest in Greece even worse.

There is no way out—and, according to some analysts, it was designed from the beginning to become that way. Those analysts agree with the brutal facts unfolding in Europe.

Bernard Connolly is a civil servant who authored The Rotten Heart of Europe, which exposed the evils of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and the truth about the European Union. Over a year ago, he explained the process in an article in the Telegraph (Aug. 20, 2007, emphasis mine):

[T]he EU quite deliberately created the most dangerous credit bubble of all: emu. And, whereas the mission of the Fed is to avoid a financial crisis, the mission of the ecb [European Central Bank] is to provoke one. The purpose of the crisis will be, as Prodi, then Commission president, said in 2002, to allow the EU to take more power for itself. The sacrificial victims will be, in the first instance, families and firms (and banks and investors) in countries such as Ireland …. Subsequently, German savers (or British taxpayers) will bear the burden of bailouts that a newly empowered ‘EU economic government’ will ordain.

When the current European economic union was formalized, it became inevitable that countries like Greece would eventually face economic crises. Through the inclusion of Germany, the economic union allowed for European-wide interest rates that were much lower in countries like Greece than would normally have been possible. Low interest rates encouraged massive borrowing and artificially stimulated a boom. But as with all bubbles, eventually it popped. What Greece and other countries in southern Europe in particular are dealing with now is the aftermath.

The Holy Roman Empire

Romano Prodi was recently prime minister of Italy. He was eventually pushed from power by the Roman Catholic Church because he disagreed with the church on several issues. That illustrates the kind of power the Vatican exercises in EU politics. (The Catholic Church in Europe is very different than it is in the U.S.)

So the Vatican obviously approved of the EU plan to take more power for itself. The real power of the EU revolves around Germany and the Vatican—as it has throughout the history of the Holy Roman Empire.

That spells real trouble for this world—as it has for over 1,500 years! Any student of European history knows about the violent past of the Holy Roman Empire.

For over 50 years we have been warning about the rise of this dangerous power. (Request our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, which explains much of that history.)

The facts overwhelmingly prove there was an extremely close relationship between Germany and the Vatican in World War ii (the sixth head of the Holy Roman Empire), even though the Vatican vehemently denies it.

What happened between Germany and the Vatican of World War ii is only a preview of the immediate future.

Otto von Habsburg was a prominent leader of Europe in the recent past. He once said, “The [European] Community is living largely by the heritage of the Holy Roman Empire, though the great majority of the people who live by it don’t know by what heritage they live.” That was a great understatement! He also said, “We possess a European symbol which belongs to all nations of Europe equally; this is the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, which embodies the tradition of Charlemagne.” History shows that Emperor Charlemagne waded through a sea of blood to gain converts to Catholicism.

In our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, we wrote:

For several decades God’s Church has been warning of the emergence of Germany as the most dominant player in a European Union of nations. The Bible teaches that this force will suddenly catapult the world into the third and final world war.Yet, even if we set aside Bible prophecy for a moment, there are more than enough modern-day Jeremiahs warning about Germany’s developing links with its fascist past. [O]ne of these modern writers [is] Martin Lee …. In his words, “Something awful was laid bare by the fall of the Berlin Wall. The fascist beast had reawakened and was on the prowl again.” Other well-known books, like Roger Eatwell’s Fascism, Bernard Connolly’s The Rotten Heart of Europe, and Margaret Thatcher’s The Downing Street Years, all serve as Churchillian warnings for a world that has proven itself prone to slumber as events grow worse. Most of the mainstream press is oblivious to the dangerous, foreboding presence developing on the horizon in Central Europe. That’s the way it was before World War ii.We must wake up and heed the words of this handful of informed and astute political analysts. “You have not anchored Germany to Europe,” Margaret Thatcher said in 1995. “You have anchored Europe to a newly dominant, unified Germany. In the end, my friends, you’ll find it will not work.” It is Germany’s national character to dominate, she said.While Germany lay in ruin and ashes after World War ii, Herbert W. Armstrong had the crystal-clear, prophetic vision to see a Germany that would again rise to world dominance. He knew the Nazis were not eliminated altogether. They only hid themselves, like cockroaches when the kitchen light is switched on.

Europe’s Financial Crisis

“Germany entered the euro with an overvalued exchange rate,” wrote Bernard Connolly.

It then faced a long period of high unemployment that drove wages down and restored its competitive position. But Germany was also helped at the beginning of this process by the newly established ecb …. The ecb initially set interest rates where Germany needed them—far too low for most other emu countries …. That combination, and Germany’s initial uncompetitiveness, created booms in many other emu countries. But, as in the U.S. in the 1920s and again in the 1990s, inappropriate interest rates and temporarily booming growth totally distorted perceptions of today versus tomorrow. The result has been that firms and families in these countries have massively over-borrowed and banks and investors have massively over-lent, often on the illusory security of inflated house prices (op. cit.).

The United States is currently trying to solve its debt-related problems by lowering its interest rates and making borrowing easier. This is treating the symptom: It may reduce the pain temporarily, but won’t fix anything in the long term. Nations like Greece, though, do not have even this option. They cannot change the interest rate to a level that suits them—they are stuck with whatever the ecb decides. And the ecb is most heavily influenced by Germany.

Greece isn’t the only nation caught in this trap. Spain’s economy has gone through a similar process to what Connolly described, and now the International Monetary Fund is predicting that its unemployment will reach 15 percent. Ireland and Denmark are also paying the price of overheating their economies.

Does this mean that it is over for a single European currency? Not at all.

As both the Trumpet and men like Connolly have been warning, Berlin has been planning for this crisis before it even adopted the euro. European elites knew it would eventually come. And they will soon present a solution.

In this context, it is noteworthy that the German central bank holds the second-largest reserves of gold in the world. During the first quarter of 1999, at the same time the euro was launched, Germany bought up huge reserves of gold. Enough, according to the Economic Intelligence Review, to back an entire currency (March 2000). In addition, when the 11 nations joined the euro, they signed over their gold reserves to the European Central Bank, in Frankfurt, Germany.

However it happens, Germany is prophesied to come out on top in this financial crisis. Social unrest and riots will eventually force Europeans to succumb to a strong united government of Europe, led ultimately not from Brussels, but from Berlin.

Greece is just one of the first places to have trouble. But national economies across Europe are deteriorating, and soon, if trends continue, much of the Continent will be in trouble. As the old saying goes, “Possession is nine tenths of the law.” The European Central Bank is but a revival of the old centralist designs of the Third Reich. The ecb is domiciled in Germany. Its gold reserves are held in Germany. Germany’s most influential bank is Deutsche Bank, which has massive global investments in international business. Of all the EU member nations, it is Germany that is in the strongest position to dictate terms for any bailouts sought by the EU’s weaker members such as Greece.

Watch Germany. Watch for Germany to be at the helm in a restructuring not only of EU member nations’ economies, but of the entire European Union itself! That union will be united and then guided by the Vatican.

So who is now the real super economic power in this world? Germany.

That too was carefully planned. The Germany-Vatican combine is gaining power that this world can’t even imagine!

The crisis in Greece is a forerunner of a whole rash of similar crises set to soon break out across Europe. They will provide the catalyst for the EU’s leading nation, Germany, to rise to the fore with solutions of its own making. Biblical prophecy declares that the result will be a European superstate with Germany at the helm. And that is not good news for America, Britain and the little nation called Israel.

How to Think Deeply

How to Think Deeply

Randy Faris/Fuse/Thinkstock

Everybody thinks. But have you ever thought about thinking? Deeper thinking leads to deeper living.

This world is hostile to serious thought. Our lives are cluttered with barriers that sear our minds with the habit of lazy, shallow thinking. Consider the insipid television and movies that pass for entertainment, transparently hostile toward anything approximating deep thought. Consider the overstimulated, technology-driven, information-saturated nature of modern life. It is too noisy for us to hear ourselves think, yet so omnipresent and addictive that silence disquiets us.

Even within respected circles of society, intellectuals are plagued by fundamental flaws in their thinking. Consider the education and scientific communities, which staunchly stand by the unprovable theory of evolution. Formal education can actually be a hindrance to quality thought—emphasizing the wrong subjects, approaching certain subjects improperly, bullying students into specific political and/or intellectual mind-sets, fostering a destructive social atmosphere. Little wonder that many of the great men and women of history were self-educated.

How we think is critical. Our thoughts govern our moods, our attitudes, our words, our actions. Thinking is the core of our being. Superficial, unfocused thinking produces a superficial, unfocused life. We are what we think.

Trouble is, generally we are not taughthowto think. It is a skill we are expected to know, without specific instruction.

What is the quality of your thinking? Are you skilled at analyzing problems? Are you able to concentrate on the things you want to concentrate on, or are you easily distracted? How deep a thinker are you?

In With the New

Vigorous thinking is fundamentally a matter of replacing inferior thoughts with quality thoughts.

You cannot think shallow thoughts and deep thoughts at the same time—it’s one or the other. So first you must push out, put off and purge the one in order to clear space for the other. To think deeply, first you must expunge the shallow thought that so easily fills your mind, and then fill that mental vacuum with quality thought.

First, let’s look at some barriers to quality thought that we must eliminate and some blessings to quality thought we must cultivate in order to develop better mental habits.

Eliminate Distractions

The most common barrier to deep thought is distractions.

Life today is chock-a-block with them! hdtvs, dvds, cds, pdas, xm radio, wi-fi, broadband, laptops, mobile phones, satellite, cable, movies, video games—there is always something to keep us stimulated. Television, our third-most time-consuming activity after work and sleep, gives us a hyper world of fast cuts, zooms and pans, noise and suddenness. The nightly news promises the world in 22 minutes. If you can’t wait for that, cable provides “headline news,” with multiple bits of information flashing and scrolling simultaneously. There is so much going on in the world, we want only the essential, only the cream, only the surface.

What price are we paying for such compulsive hyperness? The price we pay is depth.

That’s right. You can’t cover a lot of ground quickly and also go deep; you are either plowing or you are digging.

Realize: Information is not the same thing as understanding. Of course the stupid entertainment that dulls the mind is a distraction. (Proverbs 12:11 in the Revised Standard Version is wonderfully pithy and tactless on this subject: “[H]e who follows worthless pursuits has no sense.”) But anything can be a distraction. Mere information—even good information—becomes another distraction if you’re not thinking about it, evaluating it, analyzing it—if it’s not stimulating your mind in original directions.

Distractions simply crowd our minds with inferior thoughts. So turn off that tacky television, skip that silly movie, mute the mindless music, put down the trashy novel—create some quiet and clear space for something of substance.

Cultivate Concentration

Just what is thinking? It is merely a collection of images flickering through your mind, a sequence of associations.

Thinking deeply then is a matter of restricting those associations so as to repeatedly and purposefully mull a particular thing. It requires eliminating irrelevant thoughts: those weed-like musings that crowd your mind and pull you off the subject you want to be pondering.

The Apostle Paul was an advocate of such mental discipline. He spoke of “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). This requires a moment-by-moment awareness of and restraint over the images, impressions and ideas that float through the mind and then an expunging of anything unwelcome. That, in essence, is exactly what concentration is.

Good idea, but how do you apply it? Perhaps we all would love to possess greater powers of concentration.

You may not like to hear it, but concentration is a skill acquired with practice (just as poor, petty thinking is a habit strengthened by years of practice). If you aren’t used to focusing your attention, you can’t suddenly summon the knack. It requires habitual concerted deliberation.

But there is a trick to learning it. Recognize this simple truth about how your mind works: We naturally concentrate on what we enjoy.

In a wonderful little book written in 1929 called The Art of Thinking, Ernest Dimnet wrote, “[R]eal interest is essential for concentration and creates it in an instant. The same boy who goes a-wool-gathering when he has to write a literary essay can concentrate for half a day on mathematics or on a new radio implement” (emphasis mine throughout). Thus, concentrate only on those things you enjoy—or learn to enjoy those things you must concentrate on. At least, you can consciously practice concentrating on the more satisfying things and progressively work toward applying the skill elsewhere.

Paul also understood this principle. To the one who seeks to attain God’s Kingdom, he advises to “set your affection” on it (Colossians 3:1-2).

Ruminate Good Mental Food

So—you have evicted some trivialities from your mental living quarters; the space may now be leased out to more refined tenants.

Dimnet advocated populating your mind with greatness.

“It is impossible to spend an hour in a room with a man approaching greatness without feeling the contagiousness of distinguished thinking,” he wrote. “Such men cannot always be found, or our chances for meeting them may be limited. But anybody with an average knowledge of the history of nations, literature, philanthropy or art, not to speak of the history of great religionists or saints, can people his imagination with groups of superior men in every realm. … [O]ur serious hours cannot be devoted to a more useful occupation than studying the lives or ideas of great men” (ibid.).

Dimnet threw out this challenge: “If, at any moment, you are unable to name a great man who is, or has recently been, having an influence on your conduct, you will be passing the verdict: ordinary on the quality of your own thought and existence.”

Who do you spend your time with? Their influence on you looms larger than you would like to believe. Scripture is filled with admonitions such as this: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). Find those wise men and women, and then really converse—meet minds—think deeply together.

When you read, what do you read? What is the quality of the food you feed your mind?

And—just as important—when you read, how much do you think? Studying something to the point where it has “an influence on your conduct” means letting it soak into and saturate the folds of your gray matter. Be honest: How much of your reading is forgotten the moment you close the book?

Yes, read more. But as you read—read less, think more.

Beware Conformity

How is it that fatal flaws in thinking can pervade whole communities of intelligent people? How, for example, could the untruths that riddled national socialism have pervaded Europe so thoroughly as to have produced the Holocaust? How could higher education be almost unanimously condescending toward the revealed truths of God’s Word?

A dangerous barrier to deep thought is our natural “joiner” mentality—wanting to be part of the group. This tendency is generally helpful in smoothing the progress of interpersonal relationships, but too much concern about what others think renders your mind inhospitable to original thought and can result in your holding on to dangerous misconceptions.

A true thinker must have a certain independence of thought. He or she must not be afraid to stand out from the crowd. Exodus 23:2 contains the sage and generally ignored command, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.”

On the flip side, however, when you have found a solid truth, then by all means conform your thinking to it—it is a foundation on which to build. “Prove all things,” wrote Paul, “hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). All great thinking is founded upon the thoughts of great thinkers—chief of whom is God.

Once your views are based on great thinking, contribute something of yourself to the process.

Yes, there is an element of originality in deep thinking. When you think deeply, you travel intellectual territory that no one else will travel in quite that way—and you acquire unique intellectual property to offer those around you. You are a distinctive individual. God loves diversity, and there is a reason why each of us is so exceptional—not even in a brood of sextuplets is there a single carbon copy. To the person who understands the incredible human potential, this is an inspiring fact to contemplate.

Deep thinking is that which nurtures something uniquely you, and the unique personality, talents and character that God is developing in you.

Cultivate Solitude

This leads us to another essential commodity for the thinker: solitude.

“Solitude produces an exhilaration of consciousness, the consciousness of our innermost, whatever that may be. It never fails of this result,” Dimnet wrote. “Take strong coffee one morning, to keep yourself awake, lie not in bed but on a couch for two or three hours, and try to simplify and again simplify your problems ….”

How much time do you dedicate to private, quiet contemplation each day? Most people would laugh at the question. But if we are eliminating distractions, we will be redeeming some time (Ephesians 5:16), which can then be devoted to secluded thinking. “How can we secure solitude when our path is beset with a variety of undesirables?” asked Dimnet. “There is no answer to this question if we do not really crave solitude” (ibid.).

Yes, we must crave solitude.

King David did (Psalms 63:1; 119:148). Jesus Christ did (Mark 1:35; Matthew 14:23).

A life of worship of the true God should involve daily personal prayer—time spent in isolation communing with God, which requires a certain degree of introspection. Daily prayer is a huge benefit to deeper thinking—not only because of the invaluable contact with the Creator that it brings, but also because it instills the habit of focused, effortful thinking to a purpose, done in seclusion.

Educator and theologian Herbert W. Armstrong recommended about an hour of prayer a day. Secular sources say that even 20 minutes a day of quiet reflection goes a long way toward improving a person’s mental health.

The Bible is filled with directives to think about what you’re doing, to regularly evaluate yourself. For example, Haggai 1:5 says, “Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.” Analyze your life. Think about what is working and what isn’t. Involve God in this process and you can save yourself a lot of problems—and deepen your thinking in the process.

God’s Thoughts

God is the epitome of quality thought, of depth, of substance, of quiet meditation, of everything opposite our shallowness. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

But the wonderful truth is, that great gulf need not remain. Yes, God’s thoughts are much higher than ours—but we can strive to rise to His level. And with the help of God’s Holy Spirit we can succeed—in no small measure.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

This is what we’re striving for: God’s thoughts. When we talk about becoming deep thinkers, we’re talking about our thoughts co-mingling with and coming to approximate God’s thoughts. There is no thinking deeper than that.

Consider: God can impact your mind to the extent that you have the capacity for deep thought. If you are a shallow thinker, you’ll only ever be able to have a shallow understanding of the deep things of God.

The deeper thinker you are, the more rigorous your thinking is, and the more you exercise and challenge your mind, the deeper your understanding can be.

2009: The Year the Economy Changed Your Life

2009: The Year the Economy Changed Your Life

Dreamstime

The world’s experts speak out on where we are and where we are going. Helmets and bandoliers required.

It’s a no-man’s-land. The paths are ambush havens. Dangers lurk. Trip wires and land mines newly buried or planted years ago sleep in the underbrush. This isn’t the Burmese jungle. This is the American economy.

Many people are confused as to where the world is going. The economy is in uncharted territory, and navigating our way past the pitfalls and minefields of 2009 will be like fleeing war-torn Sudan into the Congo. Here are some of the prospects that this year might hold.

Said simply: The world faces “total” financial detonation. That’s the conclusion of the governor of the Bank of Spain less than two weeks ago. “The lack of confidence is total,” he said. “This is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez is not alone. He has joined a formerly exclusive list of experts who have put their reputations on the line to warn America: analysts like Nouriel Roubini, former Treasury Department adviser who has now earned the nickname Dr. Doom; analysts like Robert Schiller, the Yale professor who correctly predicted both the dot-com and housing bubbles; and analysts like Peter Schiff, president of EuroPacific Capital, author of the top seller Crash Proof and scorned by media pundits who have now seen his bearish predictions proven eerily true.

And what these men and the sober few like them have to say should jar Americans everywhere into reality.

Let’s take a look.

The Point of No Return

Bill Gross, the founder of Pimco, the biggest bond trading house in America, said that while 2008 will be known for its massive stock market crash, “it was really much, much more. It was a year in which every major asset class … suffered significant double-digit percentage losses, resulting in the destruction of over $30 trillion of paper wealth ….” He continued, “As 2008 nears its conclusion, we … face a new reality. Wall Street and Main Street are fearful that a recession may be replaced by a near depression.”

The mother of all debt bombs has detonated, $7 trillion in U.S. wealth has been obliterated, and America’s financial center lays in ruin.

“The most important news for 2008 was the destruction of the big global banks’ net worth and their badly wounded ability to conduct normal business and make market-moving loans,” says Roger Wiegand, editor of Trader Tracks newsletter and the popular WeBeatTheStreet.com.

The most famous names in American-style capitalism came crashing down this year. It began with 86-year-old Bear Stearns, a company that survived World War ii and the Great Depression, but collapsed practically overnight in March. That explosion was only the first in a chain reaction that left IndyMac Bancorp, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch & Co., Washington Mutual and Wachovia Corp. dead and covered in worthless debris. Other towers of high finance like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are severely wounded and could die. Many more, such as the $5.2 trillion Fannie and Freddie mortgage twins, and insurance giant aig, are walking zombies—alive only as long as the government continues to infuse cash into their hemorrhaging balance sheets. General Motors’ financial arm, Chrysler Financial and American Express are also now taking direct infusions from taxpayers.

The gaping crater left in the nation’s now-discredited financial core is America’s financial 9/11. “The week surrounding September 11 of this year will prove to be a more significant turning point than the one that occurred seven years before,” the Trumpet wrote. “It was a stark, blaring announcement to the world that the American economic system has passed the point of no return. And when America’s economy goes, the world as we know it will be radically transformed.”

Nouriel Roubini agrees: “There’s no going back, and there is no bottom to it.”

America will never again dominate global finance.

This destruction has left a power vacuum in the world of borrowing. Interbank lending has frozen up, despite the Federal Reserve taking the unprecedented step of lowering the rate to between 0.25 and zero percent. Banks are insolvent, and don’t trust each other enough to lend among themselves, let alone to other commercial and private borrowers.

In fact, banks are calling in their loans and are refusing to roll over old loans. Money is being pulled out of the economy. This is what the credit crunch is. The Wall Street Journalreported last month that half of all U.S. companies could be at risk of failure because they may not be able to borrow more money. That’s right: Half of corporate America may be on the verge of bankruptcy over the next couple of years if the credit crunch is not resolved.

Consumers are now being picked off too. According to Wiegand, “Consumers are broke and going broker.” Debt levels remain high, and wages are stagnant. Credit cards are tightening requirements and home equity lines of credit are no longer available to many.

Retirement plans for millions of Americans are also now shot. The most severe stock market crash since 1929 has wiped out pension plans across the country. With the Dow Jones currently down 36 percent from its highs, year-end accounting may soon reveal how massively underfunded the plans have become. Pension benefits will be cut, and even some cities could be pushed into bankruptcy.

Job Sector Breached

Making matters worse, job losses are intensifying. Global think tank leap/e2020 expects an “explosion of unemployment” in the U.S. and around the world.

As of November, over 500,000 jobs are disappearing per month, and the economy has been shedding jobs since December 2007. Official unemployment in the U.S. stands at 6.7 percent, but this statistic is the narrowest measure and does not include those who are underemployed or those who have given up searching for work. The less-reported real unemployment number is approximately twice the officially quoted statistic: over one in 10. By the end of this coming year, the real unemployment rate will “near the all-time 1930s Depression high of 25 percent,” predicts Wiegand. The rustbelt states will probably be even worse off. Already 11 million Americans are receiving food handouts and related welfare, he notes. And the Greater Depression is only beginning.

Government-run job-creation programs will probably be inefficient and wasteful. Merrill Lynch economist David Rosenberg says he would like to see how President-elect Barack Obama is going to create the 3 million infrastructure jobs he has promised, as opposed to the 2.5 million pledged just weeks earlier. Rosenberg notes that, outside of the housing construction sector, the bulk of the joblessness is in financials, retail/wholesale, leisure/hospitality and health/education. “And if investment bankers, shopkeepers, bell captains and medical chart technicians have anything in common, it is that they don’t have much experience in shovel-ready activities,” he says.

Three million jobs makes good headlines, but you need people with the skills to build ocean ports, public transit infrastructure, electrical grids and “green” technologies. And, for the most part, it is not engineers and scientists who need the jobs anyway. Some jobs will be created—but at the current rates of job losses, Obama’s taxpayer-created jobs will only replace the jobs that will be lost by June of next year.

And jobs will continue to be lost.

Mortgage Mayhem

Despite the Federal Reserve’s successful effort to drive 30-year mortgage rates down, the housing market remains in free fall. And it may be about to get much worse. Subprime was only the beginning.

“The trouble now is that the insanity didn’t end with subprimes,” says respected fund manager Whitney Tilson. “There were two other kinds of exotic mortgages that became popular, called ‘alt-A’ and ‘option arm.’”

The subprime crisis involved about $1 trillion worth of mortgages. Alt-A and option arms together total around $1.5 trillion. The bulk of these mortgages reset and/or revoke their low teaser rates in 2009 and 2010. That means that monthly payments for many people will rise. And, in case you were wondering, “the defaults [on these types of loans] right now are incredibly high. At unprecedented levels. And there is no evidence that the default rate is tapering off,” says Tilson. “Those defaults almost inevitably are leading to foreclosures, and homes being auctioned, and home prices continuing to fall.”

So far, government-endorsed plans to prevent foreclosures are failing.

An astounding 55 percent of borrowers whose mortgages were modified to help keep them in their homes during the first quarter of this year were already delinquent only six months later, Bloomberg reported.

What this means is that there may be even more jobs lost from within the construction, real-estate and lending industries.

Since a consumer’s biggest asset is his house, when house prices fall it makes people much less willing to borrow and spend. According to housing analyst Robert Shiller, house prices could easily fall an additional 15 percent over the next couple of years. Home prices have already fallen 25 percent from their peak.

Unsurprisingly, Christmas retail sales plummeted this year, and it will be one of the worst holiday sales seasons on record according to the Wall Street Journal. Even John Mauldin, president of Millennium Wave Advisors, who is well known for his view that the economy will eventually “muddle through,” notes with concern that shopping is down in America despite unprecedented markdowns.

If retail sales continue to plummet, commercial real estate is sure to take a hit as stores close up shop. That could mean additional big losses in commercial real estate for banks.

Over 30 banks have failed this year. Jim Rogers, one of the world’s most prominent international investors, says the banking crisis is going to get much worse. “Without giving specific names,” he says, “most of the significant American banks, the larger banks, are bankrupt, totally bankrupt.”

Printing Press Launch Sequence Commencing in 3 … 2 … 1 …

The collapsing economy, destroyed banking sector, free-falling housing market and rising unemployment means bad news for the dollar. Also, the trillions the government has proposed in stimulus packages means government finances will be strained.

In what may prove to be one of the most profound developments of 2008, the Federal Reserve announced its intention to monetize the national debt. In December it said it was “evaluating the potential benefits of purchasing longer-term treasury securities.”

Strap your helmet on tighter. This is Zimbabwe policy.

The U.S. government is broke. Its debts are so massive that, going forward, it will increasingly have to rely on the printing press to finance expenditures. That is what the Fed was signifying in the above statement (i.e., the Fed will create new money and lend it to the U.S. government by purchasing treasuries).

And according to John Hussman of Hussman Funds, a dollar rout may already be in the making. In his recent article “The Dollar Crisis Begins,” he indicates that if the Fed begins purchasing the U.S. government’s debt, it may end up doing more buying of treasuries than expected “in order to absorb the supply from foreign holders set on dumping them.” When the Fed creates new dollars, it devalues existing currency. That means it makes U.S. treasuries, which are denominated in dollars, worth less too. This provides a powerful incentive for treasury owners to sell their holdings.

There are a number of factors that could cause the dollar to devalue. But if treasury holders began selling, the increased supply on the market could really trigger a dollar crisis.

And there is nothing like a falling dollar and a global economy in crisis to ignite a trade war.

“The dollar has fallen by 40 percent against the world’s major currencies over the past seven years,” wrote the Trumpet back in February. “Sixteen percent of that loss has come in the past year and a half alone. Against gold, the dollar has fared even worse, losing 19 percent so far this year. The rapid fall in the dollar’s value is drastically changing global trade dynamics.”

A weak dollar generally means that Americans purchase fewer foreign-made goods, while foreigners purchase more U.S. goods. This is generally seen as a benefit to American manufacturers, and positive for jobs. But global economic conditions are eroding so rapidly that many nations may seek to devalue their currencies to grab trade. In addition, America’s manufacturing base is already pretty well shot. America’s economy mainly produces services and other less-tangible goods that are less essential to a global economy in lockdown mode.

Is the world about to embark on a beggar-thy-neighbor policy of competitive currency devaluation to boost domestic exports?

History indicates that, in time of economic crisis, governments tend to go down this road. The effects on global trade could be disastrous.

First Shots of Trade War

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in a speech to Congress a little more than a year ago, warned that America risked triggering “economic war” with Europe if it attempted to devalue its way out of economic trouble by allowing the dollar to plunge in value. “Those who admire the nation that has built the world’s greatest economy and has never ceased trying to persuade the world of the advantages of free trade expect her to be the first to promote fair exchange rates,” Sarkozy said. “The dollar cannot remain solely the problem of others. If we’re not careful, monetary disarray could morph into economic war. We would all be its victims.”

When Sarkozy talks about economic war, what he means is tariffs and subsidies. And a lot of financial fallout that will affect your bank account.

During the Great Depression, countries sought to protect their domestic industry by limiting trade. This greatly intensified and prolonged the downturn.

The winds of trade war are blowing. Blockades are on the horizon.

“The Fed keeps telling us they will not repeat the mistakes of the 1930s, yet they continue to repeat the very same mistakes … on steroids,” writes investment adviser Mike Morgan. “The only difference this time is we have labeled the mistakes with different names and explain things away with magic dust.” Today’s new code for subsidies is “bailout.”

What is the difference, Morgan asks, between the auto bailout and foreign government subsidies to industry?

The same day the White House announced the $17.4 billion automaker bailout/subsidy, the U.S. began legal action against China at the World Trade Organization for supposedly subsidizing its industry. Tensions are heating up.

“We continue to believe that trade protectionism, competitive devaluations and military conflicts are the major risks for investors for 2009—this is, after all, the most broadly based global recession (according to the imf, not just us) in the post-World War ii era,” warns Merrill Lynch. “Since the G-20 meeting in … October, five of those countries—Russia, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina—have announced their intentions to raise import tariffs or otherwise restrict trade.”

Vietnam, China, France and the European Union have all also recently strengthened import taxes, duties, subsidies or export rebates.

“[D]id anyone notice that this auto bailout excludes foreign companies?” David Rosenberg asked. “It’s all about self-preservation.”

Global leaders say they don’t want a trade war. Most economists and business leaders don’t want trade war, and the average worker certainly doesn’t want trade war—but trade tensions could easily ignite in 2009.

2009 is most likely going to be another tough year. That is what the best experts say—the experts that saw America’s economic problems before the crisis struck.

More importantly, that is what the Bible says.

According to biblical prophecy, there is a time coming when America will be blockaded by many of its former trade partners. Read it for yourself: “They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the Lord your God has given you” (Deuteronomy 28:52; New King James Version). That prophecy relates directly to the Anglo-American peoples.

God has said in His Word that He will take away every one of our national blessings and replace them with curses—because of disobedience to Him (Leviticus 26). As Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in The United States and Britain in Prophecy, “We have to learn that material goods are not the source of happiness. … Our peoples have basic lessons yet to learn. The true values are spiritual.”

The prosperity and blessings that America and other English-speaking nations have enjoyed as a result of their forefather Abraham’s obedience, are being taken away by God because our peoples have failed to acknowledge the Source of those national blessings. “Punishment implies correction,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “Correction means a change of course. … God is going to keep multiplying chastening—correction—upon our peoples until they do turn from their evil ways—until they turn to the ways that cause peace, happiness, prosperity, all the good things!”

And that is why we warn of America’s impending fall.

Pakistan, India on War Footing

Pakistan, India on War Footing

STR/AFP/Getty Images

As India and Pakistan maneuver toward war, the U.S. loses out.

Pakistan withdrew 20,000 troops from its Afghan border and redeployed them along the Indian border last week. As Pakistan focuses on the prospect of fighting India instead of fighting the Taliban, the United States is going to have more trouble in Afghanistan.

Following the Mumbai attacks on November 26, the people of India have pressured their government to respond. The government cannot afford to look weak against terror, and has reacted by deploying troops along the Pakistani border, threatening Pakistan with war if it does not crack down on the terrorist groups it harbors.

Pakistan has responded in kind, redeploying a large number of its own troops to the Indian border and canceling all troop leave.

Still, both countries are trying to calm the waters. The directors general for military operations from the two countries spoke to each other over the “hotline” on Sunday. Leaders of both sides have stressed a desire for peace, and most analysts now believe that war is unlikely—though in such a highly charged situation, a small spark could ignite a conflict.

But even without war, America is one of the biggest losers here. The 20,000 troops Pakistan has redeployed away from its Afghan border represent one fifth of all the forces it has dedicated to fighting the Taliban in the northwest of the country.

“This is a serious blow to the war on terror in the sense that the whole focus is now shifting toward the eastern border,” said former Pakistani general and military analyst Talat Masood. “It will give more leeway to the militants and increased space to operate.”

At the moment, Pakistan is refusing to cooperate with India in cracking down on militants. If Islamabad continues its defiance, analysts say the most likely outcome is a “no war, no peace” situation. Under this scenario, the two sides will use non-state proxies to destabilize each other. This would be similar to the situation before 2002, leading to periodic crises between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

This scenario would be very bad for the U.S. In addition to having to invest political and real capital in calming down the region, Washington would be faced with a major defeat in the war on terror. Instead of fighting Islamist terrorists, Pakistan would fund them—using the terrorists to fight India.

Islamist militants are already operating in Pakistan and causing major problems for the U.S. The Taliban uses Pakistan as its base for launching attacks into Afghanistan. Insurgents are attacking U.S. supply lines that run through Pakistan to Afghanistan. In one week this month, terrorists set fire to 300 trucks carrying supplies and military vehicles.

If Pakistan does not deal decisively with the militants, or worse, builds them up, life will get very difficult for the U.S. in Afghanistan. And the U.S. has a history of failing to finish difficult wars.

The situation between India and Pakistan is yet another setback for the United States. For more about America’s war in Afghanistan, read “Afghanistan: Back to Where We Started.”

Remember 1989: “No More Delay”

Remember 1989: “No More Delay”

iStockphoto

The year history revived!

Writing in the Boston Herald this week, Lee Edwards referred to 1989 as the “miracle year.” It was in that year, he wrote, that “Communism, the dark tyranny that controlled more than 40 nations and claimed the lives of an estimated 100 million victims during the 20th century, suddenly collapsed in Eastern and Central Europe without a shot being fired.”

Edwards isn’t the first commentator to spotlight the significance of 1989. Last month, for example, columnist James Carroll made an interesting comparison between Kristallnacht, when Adolf Hitler incited riots that triggered Germany’s campaign to destroy European Jewry, and the same date in 1989. “If Nov. 9, 1938, can be taken as the beginning of Hitler’s war,” Carroll wrote, “the end of it can be taken as coming on that date in 1989, when the Berlin Wall was breached. The Cold War, beginning in a Soviet-American argument over Berlin, can be understood as the long denouement of World War ii” (emphasis mine).

Nov. 9, 1989, can certainly be pinpointed as the end of an era, but of much greater significance—from a prophetic standpoint—is the new era that date ushered in! As Trumpet columnist Ron Fraser has explained,

During the Cold War, history seemed stuck in a time warp as the U.S. and Soviet Russia glared at each other over a concrete barrier slicing through the German city of Berlin.History revived on that fateful night, Nov. 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell. … In a sense, a history which had been held back, delayed for 40 years in the icy freeze of cold war, was suddenly freed to pursue its ongoing course. We had entered a time of “no more delay” in the course of world events (Revelation 10:6; Zephaniah 1:14). The history of mankind was about to reach its crashing, globe-shattering climax!The fall of the Berlin Wall was to herald the dramatic acceleration of a European phenomenon which had been somewhat stultified during the Cold War—the revival of European imperialism. Simply put, the resurrection of that old imperial power which has dominated history since 31 b.c., the Roman Empire.

For more than five decades under Herbert W. Armstrong’s leadership, the Plain Truth magazine had powerfully and consistently proclaimed the future revival of that old European empire, to be headed by a newly unified Germany. For example, Mr. Armstrong wrote in 1956, “Germany will lead and dominate the coming United States of Europe.” Similar statements had been made over the years on Mr. Armstrong’s television program, The World Tomorrow.

Mr. Armstrong barely missed living long enough to see the Berlin Wall fall in 1989. Yet many of the millions who studied his prophetic writings were well aware of the momentous significance of Nov. 9, 1989, as we all watched that wall come tumbling down.

Four weeks after the wall came down, Gerald Flurry and John Amos were fired from the Worldwide Church of God for continuing Mr. Armstrong’s legacy of watching world events and warning this world of the cataclysmic events prophesied to occur immediately before the Messiah’s return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem!

For more on how the church that sponsors theTrumpet.com is carrying on Mr. Armstrong’s legacy, read “Sharing the Word of the Lord” and Raising the Ruins.

Global Crisis and the Law

Global Crisis and the Law

Dreamstime

There is but one enduring foundation for national greatness—the law of God!

From the beginning, man has been subject to government. The earliest histories of man document the rise and fall of governments. Though man has tried all forms known to him, every dynasty, every empire, every kingdom, every democracy—every regime on Earth has ended up going to war to defeat or be defeated by the forces of an opposing government, or has declined into the dust of decadence and eventual collapse.

The greatest of man’s utopian dreams have all come adrift and foundered on the institution of government.

Why is this so?

How come, in 6,000 years of documented history, mankind has still not found the best form of government for human beings under which to live in peace and security, each nation enjoying an equitable share of the common wealth of planet Earth?

Over time, this world has witnessed every human system of government known to man.

And the results?

Utter failure.

Not one of the principle systems of government known to man—monarchy, democracy, republic, oligarchy, despotism, tyranny—nor known system of political economy from capitalism to communism—has produced and maintained true peace, prosperity and happiness for the masses. None have produced utopia. All have fundamental flaws. The greatest single nation of them all, the United States of America, though demonstrating great power potential, is rotten at its core, drastically weakened morally, having entered a stage of progressive financial, economic and moral collapse.

In the words of Kenneth Minogue, “[H]uman beings are unsuitable material for crafting social perfection.”

Following a century of the greatest growth in technological achievement, general productivity and traded wealth that mankind has ever witnessed, we are now in the throes of a massive global economic and financial disaster.

When one man can dupe countless clients out of over $50 billion and then freely admit that his investment scheme was based on a huge lie, we have to admit that there is something deeply wrong within our society.

Within Anglo-Saxon society, the whole concept of shame has become archaic. Traditional notions of decency and morality are replaced by a new morality termed “political correctness.” The crazy thing about the imposition on Western society of “political correctness” as a moral code is that the gurus who create it come from the school which, in an effort to trash what they called “the Judeo-Christian ethic” (a euphemism for Bible-based values), used to maintain that there was no single right way of judging moral and political issues!

History itself attests to the fact that the mightiest of empires which produced the greatest period of world peace in modern history did so by embedding a single right way of judging moral and political issues within its populace!

Of the time of Britain’s greatness, political commentator Luigi Barzini commented, “Britons of all classes shared the same ideas, absorbed in childhood from their parents at home, from ministers in church, and from the teachers in whatever school they went to. As long as problems could be solved and crises faced with those ideas, the empire and the peace of the world had been secure” (The Europeans).

Those ideas were founded upon ten basic laws. We call them the Ten Commandments.

Deeply embedded within the psyche of the Victorian Englishman and Englishwoman, this standard moral code underpinned the actions of the Anglo-Saxon peoples throughout the time of that hundred years of comparative peace, calmness and security that prevailed when Britain ruled the waves throughout the greater part of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. A descendant of Victorian grandparents, Lady Margaret Thatcher observed, “We were taught to work jolly hard. We were taught to prove yourself; we were taught self-reliance; we were taught to live within our income. You were taught that cleanliness is next to godliness. You were taught self-respect. You were taught always to give a hand to your neighbor. You were taught tremendous pride in your country. All of these things are Victorian values. They are also perennial values” (Gertrude Himmelfarb, The Demoralization of Society).

Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana observed, “Instinctively the Englishman is no missionary, no conqueror. He prefers the country to the town, and home to foreign parts. He is rather glad and relieved if only natives will remain natives and strangers strangers. Yet outwardly he is most hospitable and accepts almost anybody for the time being; he travels and conquers without a settled design, because he has the instinct of exploration. … Never since the heroic days of Greece has the world had such a sweet, just, boyish master. It will be a black day for the human race when scientific blackguards, conspirators, churls and fanatics manage to supplant him” (The Abolition of Britain).

History witnesses to the fact that within the West, it is the English-speaking peoples which, down through the centuries, have maintained the middle course between anarchy and despotism. As French statesman Jacques Necker declared, the British form of government was the only government on Earth “which united public strength with individual security.” So entrenched are the basic freedoms of the individual in the English-speaking countries that we just think it natural and normal to enjoy the civil liberties that are common to our countries. “Nor need we forget that in World War ii those areas of Europe and Asia that were indeed liberated, and not turned over to another despotism, were liberated in the European case mainly by the combined arms of the United States, Britain and Canada; in the Asian case mainly by the combined arms of the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand” (National Interest, Fall 1999).

But this has been by no means due to the luck of history. These rich blessings that manifest themselves in the basic freedoms of English-speaking society—freedom of speech, the right of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, our largely reliable forms of administration, the concept of accountability in office, the basic institutions of our society—these are all bound up in a culture founded upon a rich heritage gifted to the English-speaking nations by the very God they tend to ignore. They were given as the inheritance promised to the ancient nation of Israel due to the faith and obedience of their founding father, Abraham (Genesis 22:18).

Perhaps the greatest witness to the source of these blessings was the rule of law which underpinned the government of the English-speaking peoples through their time of greatness. Trace it back to its origins. It was written in stone by the finger of Almighty God. The system of law which binds free society together in the English-speaking nations, though becoming largely corrupt, is simply based upon the law, statutes and judgments of the Old Testament in the Bible.

Though the queen who ruled the British Empire at its peak, Victoria, generally understood this, the knowledge of their glorious heritage was largely lost to the English-speaking nations, rapidly and progressively, over the past century. And as they have regressed in their knowledge of these great truths, so the erosion of civil society has eaten away at the moral heart and core of the English-speaking nations.

The Eternal God admonishes these peoples, “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein” (Jeremiah 6:16).

Believe it or not, very soon the Anglo-Saxon peoples are going to find—as the great global financial and economic crisis continues to build into a destructive force of such magnitude that the whole of the foundation of their rebellious society collapses—that they are reaping the fruits of mass rebellion against their God and His law!

Read The United States and Britain in Prophecy for a deeper understanding of this prophesied rise and fall of the Anglo-Saxon peoples. Study our booklet on the Ten Commandments for real insight into the only law by which mankind will ever live in peace and international harmony.